Author: Dan Feldman

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings

Report: George Karl wanted to suspend DeMarcus Cousins, overruled by Vlade Divac


DeMarcus Cousins reportedly cussed out Kings coach George Karl in front of the team Monday.

That’s problematic, but what happened afterward might show even more dysfunction in Sacramento.

Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

According to league sources, Kings coach George Karl wanted to suspend DeMarcus Cousins for two games following Tuesday morning’s team meeting after the All-Star center allegedly directed a profanity-laced tirade toward the coach. The sources asked not to be identified because they are unauthorized to speak on the matter.

The sources went on to say Kings general manager Vlade Divac said Karl did not have authority to suspend Cousins nor would grant permission.

No wonder those close to Karl believe his job is in jeopardy.

Not only did he apparently overrule Karl’s suspension request, Divac publicly acknowledged the players haven’t bought into Karl’s system. Divac also reportedly asked the players whether he should fire Karl.

Remember, Divac inherited Karl as coach. There’s little evidence those two are on the same page, maybe even less than evidence Karl and the players get along. Between the players, coaches and front office, I’m not sure any sides mesh, though maybe Divac and the players.

And then there’s owner Vivek Ranadivé, in his own world and capable of interjecting himself at any moment.

Maybe Karl was right for wanting Cousins suspends. Maybe Divac was right for not doing it.

But the Kings can’t go on like this. Something has to give.

For what it’s worth, Cousins apologized, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

That might placate everyone for now, but it won’t be easy for Karl and Cousins from here. Karl knows he lacks the power to discipline Cousins how he’d like. More worryingly, Cousins knows, too. That’s a tough dynamic to work in the best of times.

These clearly aren’t the best of times.

Kevin Durant out 7-10 days until re-evaluation

Kevin Durant, John Wall, Jared Dudley

Kevin Durant left the Thunder’s win over the Wizards last night with a strained hamstring.

He won’t be returning quickly.

Thunder release:

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) today that confirmed he has a strained left hamstring that he sustained during the second quarter of last night’s 125-101 victory at Washington, the team announced today. Durant will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days at which time a further update will be provided.

Oklahoma’s schedule the next 10 days:

  • Nov. 13: vs. 76ers
  • Nov. 15: vs. Celtics
  • Nov. 16: at Grizzlies
  • Nov. 18: vs. Pelicans
  • Nov. 20: vs. Knicks

All things considered, that’s not a very rough stretch. Russell Westbrook can step up as a go-to player, and Serge Ibaka leads a deep supporting cast. The biggest immediate concern is the unreliability of the wings – Kyle Singler, Dion Waiters – who will see bigger roles.

But long-term, it’s still questionable how much time Durant will miss. The Thunder aren’t saying he’ll return in 7-10 days, just that he’ll be reevaluated then. Hamstring injuries can linger, and they should allow him time to get fully healthy. Just realize that could take a while.

Kobe Bryant out against Magic

Kobe Bryant
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When Kobe Bryant missed last night’s Lakers-Heat game, I figured he’d play the other leg of the back-to-back.

But a sore back will keep him out against the Magic tonight, too.

Mike Trudell of

The Lakers’ upcoming schedule – four games in six days in four cities – is fairly grueling:

  • Today: at Magic
  • Friday: at Mavericks
  • Sunday: vs. Pistons
  • Monday: at Suns

There’s no great opportunity for Kobe to return without facing travel and another game shortly after.

It’s hard out there for an injury-riddled 37-year-old.

Report: Kings coach George Karl ‘in trouble’

George Karl

The Kings haven’t bought into George Karl’s system. DeMarcus Cousins might have cussed him out. Sacramento is holding team meetings already.

Everything is on the table.

But Karl’s fate looks increasingly certain.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

George Karl is in trouble.

Even those closest to him are willing to admit that much.

The Sacramento Kings coach who came to town nine months ago, who was given a $15 million contract ($11.5 million guaranteed) that doesn’t expire until the summer of 2018, and whose sterling record of success has been tainted by way of the 12-26 record ever since, isn’t seen internally as their coach for the long-haul anymore. Barring a shocking turnaround – and by that, we’re talking a 40-plus win season that seems unlikely – that much has become increasingly clear.

Even if the Kings were moderately cohesive – which they’re not – 40 wins would have been a high bar entering the season. They haven’t won even 30 games in any of the last seven years. Getting to 40-42 with a 1-7 start weighing them down looks highly improbable.

Really, this isn’t such a bad situation for Karl. Sixth on the all-time wins list, 12 behind Phil Jackson, Karl wants to climb the rankings – maybe all the way to No. 1 with 193 more victories. But he also wants to coach his way, apparently willing to ignite a feud with Cousins. If the franchise picks Cousins over him, Karl will get plenty of guaranteed money as a fallback. Show me the unfavorable outcome for Karl here.

The way owner Vivek Ranadivé operates, I’m not sure Karl gets until the end of this season. Sacramento has had four coaches in the 2.5 years Ranadive has owned the team, though to be fair, he inherited Keith Smart. Once Ranadivé decides to change directions – and there’s no telling when that will be – I’m not sure what stops him.

Klay Thompson: I should have sat out games to get healthy

Klay Thompson, Jrue Holiday
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You must really squint to find problems with the 8-0 Warriors – who could reach 72 wins – but Klay Thompson started slowly.

He averaged just 14 points on 29% 3-point shooting in his first five games. In his last three, though, those numbers improved to 20 and and 46%.

The shooting guard blamed a back injury.

Thompson, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

“It was killing me after Houston (Oct. 30) and for a couple games after that,” he said. “But now I’m pretty much back to normal.”

“In retrospect, I probably should have sat out to get it right.”

Sometimes, players embellish their injuries to excuse their struggles – to themselves and/or the public. If Thompson has put this injury – embellished or not – behind him, that bodes well for him and Golden State.

But, if this injury was as severe as Thompson said, I’m surprised the Warriors kept playing him. They’re proactive with health, and it’s early in the season. An extra win isn’t worth jeopardizing a lingering issue.

Would Thompson have stayed in the lineup if Steve Kerr were coaching? There’s a lot on Luke Walton’s plate, probably more than he’s quite ready to handle. I could see this slipping through.